Mitochondrial haplogroup T is negatively associated with the status of elite endurance athlete

Mitochondrion. 2007 Sep;7(5):354-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2007.06.002. Epub 2007 Jun 27.


Mitochondrial function is absolutely necessary to supply the energy required for muscles, and germ line mutations in mitochondrial genes have been related with impaired cardiac function and exercise intolerance. In addition, alleles at several polymorphic sites in mtDNA define nine common haplogroups, and some of these haplogroups have been implicated in the risk of developing several diseases. In this study, we analysed the association between mtHaplogroups and the capacity to reach the status of elite endurance athlete. DNA was obtained from blood leukocytes of 95 Spanish elite endurance athletes and 250 healthy male population controls. We analysed eight mitochondrial polymorphisms and the frequencies were statistically compared between elite athletes and controls. Haplogroup T, specifically defined by 13368A, was significantly less frequent among elite endurance athletes (p =0.012, Fisher's exact test). Our study suggests that allele 13368A and mitochondrial haplogroup T might be a marker negatively associated with the status of elite endurance athlete. This mitochondrial variant could be related with a lower capacity to respond to endurance training, through unknown mechanisms involving a less efficient mitochondrial workload.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Haplotypes / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / genetics*
  • Running / physiology


  • DNA, Mitochondrial